Vegan summer: 10 recipes to brighten up your day

Vegan summer: 10 recipes to brighten up your day

by Great British Chefs 9 July 2019

Summer sees a bounty of produce fall at our feet in the UK, as bright, verdant greens and fresh fruits are at their very best. Here are ten vegan recipes we can't do without in the summer months.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Summer may well be the easiest time of year to be vegan – the UK is blessed with fantastic access to a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, much of which is grown on our doorstep. The fresh greens that appear come June and July are incredible – asparagus season may be over, but in its place are fresh peas, broad beans, courgettes and fennel, leafy greens like chard and estuary greens like samphire. Not only that, the bounty of British summer fruit is astonishing – strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, the list goes on.

Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or something else, summer is the best time of year to ditch the protein and dairy and appreciate Britain's wonderful fruit and veg. Here are ten vegan summer recipes that we always turn to when the sun is out.

Harissa hasselback courgettes with butter bean and tahini dip and dukkah

Equally delicious and brilliant on it's own or as part of a mezze feast, this hasselback courgette ticks all the boxes. The courgette itself is laced with the fiery heat of harissa, but mellowed by a creamy butter bean and tahini sauce underneath, whilst a sprinkling of dukkah adds a bit of crunch to proceedings. We'd recommend dialling up the heat and going for a particularly spicy harissa – the contrast between that and the cooling dip underneath is what takes this dish to the next level.

Padron peppers with smoked paprika crumb and grape ajo blanco

Blackened padron peppers and good sea salt are a perfectly good meal in themselves, and some might say not to mess with a classic, but we think this version with roasted grapes and grape ajo blanco is really something special. It might not be to everyone's tastes, but the mellow sweetness of the grape and the creamy sauce – made with soaked bread, garlic, almonds and sherry vinegar – is certainly an intriguing combination, and one we find ourselves returning to often when the sun comes out.

Roasted broccoli with hazelnut, tomato sauce and tahini

On the hunt for a new quick and easy weeknight meal? Look no further – this roasted broccoli number is dead simple to put together, and only takes an hour or so from start to finish (less if you make a big batch of the tomato sauce and keep it in the freezer!) Tomato, hazelnut and tahini is a tried and tested combination in the Middle East – just throw a pile of crispy roasted broccoli on top and you have a hearty meal in mere minutes.

Charred green beans with sauté potatoes, chermoula and fried almonds

Vegan food is often about making the most of simple things; this recipe is, at heart, about the combination of three simple ingredients – green beans, potatoes and almonds – that work together in perfect harmony. The addition of chermoula – a herby condiment from North Africa – lifts everything with grassy freshness and the sharpness of preserved lemon.

Saffron malloreddus with peas, fennel and cherry tomatoes

Making pasta doesn't have to be a chore, nor does it have to contain eggs; this pasta recipe takes inspiration from the south of Italy where pasta is made with just semolina and water. Hand-rolling your pasta is a doddle, and from there you can conjure up a sauce with the simplest of ingredients – some fresh fennel, cherry tomatoes and peas straight from the freezer! One of our all time favourite bowls of food, vegan or otherwise.

Coronation cauliflower with roasted apricots and pickled turmeric

This vegan take on a British classic ticks all the boxes – there's sweetness from the apricots, an earthy tang from pickled turmeric root and raisins and then a bit of warmth from roasted cauliflower, which has been marinated in coconut yoghurt and spices. This makes a fantastic summer lunch, but it's even better if you're planning on having a few friends round for a big vegan feast.

Teriyaki tofu with pickled cucumber and sesame

There's no doubt that tofu still divides opinion, even amongst vegans. We've all been left a bit cold by a bland lump of tofu in the past, but it doesn't have to be this way – by pressing and drying your tofu properly, you can get a fantastic crispy texture on the outside that transforms your dishes. Just combine with a simple teriyaki marinade, a cucumber pickle to cut through the richness and some fresh garnish and you have a meal that is as delicious as it is nutritious.

Roasted carrots and chickpeas with semi-dried tomatoes, pickled red onion, parsley and sumac dressing

Carrots are one of those vegetables that many of us routinely give the cold shoulder to, perhaps the result of having to eat bland, over-boiled carrot sticks at school. Next time you have a spare bag of carrots lurking in your salad draw, spare a thought for this recipe and roast them with lots of oil, salt and cumin – we think you'll be more than pleasantly surprised by the results.

Salted watermelon salad with mint, almond, cucumber and chilli

Watermelon is another beloved summer treat – a fantastic way to cool off in the heat of the sun. Visit Mexico and you'll find the locals often eat their watermelon with salt and chilli; Mexicans – being well acquainted with both watermelon and extreme heat – realised long ago that salt and chilli actually emphasises watermelon's fresh, juicy qualities. We took that idea and ran with it, adding bags more freshness with cucumber, lime and mint, and a bit of crunch from toasted almonds. A fantastic summer side.

Peach and lavender tart

This vegan tarte fine is a great way to salvage peaches that aren't quite ripe enough to eat; they'll soften up nicely in the oven as they bake on a bed of vegan, dairy-free almond crème pâtissière. Anyone who has made their own puff pastry will know that not only does it contain massive amounts of butter, but it's also a huge faff; shop-bought versions are neither and still perfectly good. A few lavender flowers finish this off nicely, but be careful not to overdo it – lavender gets rather overpowering in large quantities.